PALMANER, India — Mathias Doyle, OFM, recently presided over a special Chapter of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle here as Delegate General. The chapter celebrated the establishment of a Custody and a Foundation, both dependent on the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle. Seventy-five friar delegates from India gathered to mark this important event.
Mathias, representing the General Minister of the Order as his Delegate General, has traveled to India and Europe seven times over the past two years for this assignment. He was appointed in December 2006 by Fr. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, the Minister General of the Order, as Delegate General for India. In this role, Mathias can perform special duties in the name of, and by the authority of, the General Minister.
The new custody, focused on North India, and the foundation, centered on the Northeast, will allow St. Thomas Province to continue its growth in serving India’s Catholics. The province, which began as a dependent custody of the Dutch friars in the 1960s, became an independent Province in the 1980s.
While Palmaner is far from Mumbai, the site of recent terrorism, Chapter participants experienced the sadness and shock that spread throughout India. The province runs a parish and school near Mumbai.
“Fortunately, none of the friars or the faculty and children in the school were injured in the attack,” wrote Mathias, “but all shared in the trauma of such an event taking place so close to them. The feelings throughout India were not unlike those expressed by Americans after Sept. 11, 2001.” Mathias appealed for continued prayers and support.
Mathias, who spent many years in the academic world, described his involvement with the India province in an essay in the December 2007 issue of The Anthonian, the quarterly magazine of St. Anthony’s Guild. He Is currently director of Siena College’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy.